Neil Warnock: People keep saying I'll get plenty of stick back at Palace – but I get stick everywhere
What I Learnt This Week
Saturday 10 April 2010
Today will be a day of mixed emotions for me, going back to Selhurst Park.
Obviously we're both in the relegation fight, so there's a lot at stake, but whatever happens today I hope both clubs survive the drop. A lot of managers would say "it's just another game", but it's not. If I'm honest I'm not looking forward to it at all and I'll be glad when I get home tonight, whatever the result.
It will be strange to play against "my team", Crystal Palace's players all being ones I signed. I know them so well and I'm not surprised at the way they have rallied and are fighting tooth and nail to come through because that's the type of players they are. There is a great character and team spirit at Palace. That doesn't happen overnight, it's taken the best part of two-and-a-half years to develop, and it is why they have kept battling despite all the upheaval of the last 12 months.
Comparing their last few results with ours it's fair to say Palace are favourites and we'll have to play far better than we have done away from home. We've got some good players in the squad, and it will be interesting to see how we cope, but they are clearly the best side in the bottom half of the Championship, because but for the points deduction they would be ninth. In fact, I believe they'd be pushing for the play-offs because they wouldn't have suffered that wobble after the points were deducted.
I still can't for the life of me understand why the hedge fund, Aglio, put the club into administration. What did it achieve? We're now a few weeks from the end of the season and they still haven't got their money; if they'd left the club in the hands of Simon [Jordan] they would have been paid. Why not pursue the possibility of getting into the Premier League. It baffles me.
I don't think this match will decide who stays up. There's still four games to go after this game and two of those will be at home where our fans are going to be vital. Away from home recently we've seen how vociferous fans can generate an intimidating atmosphere and help get results.
Everyone has been saying how much stick I will get today but I reminded them I get a lot of stick everywhere. Also, I think even the people giving me stick, underneath, will know Palace would have been far worse off if I hadn't been there over the last 12 months.
I'm glad there is light at the end of the tunnel for Palace. I hope the consortium led by Palace supporter Steve Parish will get the nod to take over and give the club the stability it needs and deserves. Another plus is the youth system is second to none. I was proud to hand 14 players their debut in my time, and I'm not surprised to hear they have signed seven more youngsters on pro contracts.
2. Cold left me with a voice like Rod Stewart
I could do with an uplifting result as it has been a bit of a mixed week for me. I've had a voice like Rod Stewart all week, very croaky, after picking up a cold during our house move.
Getting one point from two games hasn't made me feel any better, especially as we could have won both. I know that sounds daft as we lost 4-0 at Leicester on Monday but at one-nil down I thought, "We'll win this". We were dominating, but that's football.
The week began badly when a bloke turned up to fit Sky for the TV. I could tell he wasn't interested. He said something about not having the right ladder and left, so I wasn't able to watch football over the weekend.
Then we smelt gas in one of the downstairs rooms. I rang the landlord and he said to open the back door to let the air vent it! It's a good job we're not smokers because we'd blown up half of Richmond if I'd lit a match. In the end we had the gas off three days, all the driveway dug up, men at work signs everywhere.
At least after some antibiotics I felt a bit better by Wednesday and the kids got me out for a bike ride down the river. We only planned to go for an hour but saw a German sausage place by Richmond Bridge and went in there. By the time we were ready to go home it was dark so we had to go back by torchlight.
The following day, when I got back on the saddle, I realised how sore certain parts of the anatomy can get when the paths are quite bumpy. We called in at a bicycle shop to get some lights and Sharon spotted these padded pants. I tried a pair on. They were so long and baggy I looked like Charlie Chaplin. I asked Sharon for her opinion. When she fell on the floor laughing, and shouted, "Quick, kids, have a look at your dad," I realised I did not look quite the part. I'll have to find a padded saddle.
3. United can't complain about Bayern backlash
Luckily, the TV was fixed in time to see the fantastic four-goal salvo from Lionel Messi. I can't believe he is 22 years of age. I haven't seen a goal like his third since Kenny Dalglish's day. Arsenal had chances over the two legs but they were unfortunate to come up against the best. Man United will feel more hard done by, but even at 3-0 I feared a sting in the tale. While Sir Alex blamed the sending off of Rafael, which was obviously a major factor, I don't know why Carrick didn't just put the ball out for their first goal.
Alex complained about Bayern's players surrounding the ref when Rafael was sent off but you can't tell me that United, and most other teams, would not have done the same. Rafael played so well but he has to realise with continental referees that any short pull like that is likely to get a yellow card, which I'm sure Alex will tell him in private.
4. Don't stand so close when I'm driving
It was a delight to tune in on Thursday night to watch Tiger Woods back in the swing. It must have been a relief to him finally to play golf after the last few weeks. I'm always amazed how close people stand when he drives off at the tee. They wouldn't be like that if I were holding the club.
5. MPs fix it with spin
I gather we've moved into a marginal constituency so I'll have to get down and register to vote. When I listen to them all I think, "How can the country be in such a bad situation when they all know how to fix it? Everything they tell you, you want to hear."
6. We're backing My Will
Today's Grand National brings back a few memories. My first ever bet was in 1961 when my uncle gave me two-and-six (that's 12 1/2p in "new money") and told me to pick a horse. As it was black-and-white TV I picked a grey one so I could follow it round. Nicolaus Silver it was and it romped home at 28-1. I've never had so much money
This year I've Arbor Supreme and King Johns Castle in the club sweep, and, as he's named after William, the whole family is on My Will. Wish us luck.
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